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Beatles Remastered

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Beatles Remasters - When???

Currently, the only Beatles tunes available in remixed and/or remastered form, improved from the original 1980s releases, are on two CDs:

  • Yellow Submarine Songtrack (1999)
  • Love (2007)

And in two four-disc boxed sets:

Remixed at Abbey Road Studios, the tracks of Yellow Submarine Songtrack feature many alterations and adjustments from the original stereo recordings. All of The Beatles songs included in the film are on Yellow Submarine Songtrack, with the exception of "A Day in the Life", which was not put in because EMI did not want too many songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to be included.

The Love album is a stunner and, as a teaser, shows what might be in store when the entire catalog is finally released. George Martin and his son managed to create an amazing "new" collection of Beatles material from the rich store of masters at EMI.

The latest news on the remastering

March 18, 2009


The long-awaited, remastered Beatles' catalogue may finally be making its way to your computer sometime this year. But don't bet on it being on iTunes.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with the estates of the late John Lennon and George Harrison, are said to be looking into the possibility of releasing the material on their own website.

Talks between Apple and The Beatles to resolve royalty disputes have been on-again and off-again for years, and according to Harrison's son Dhani, the situation has reached a tipping point.

Harrison, 30, told Blender magazine that The Beatles' camp still isn't satisfied with what they're being offered by Apple, and they may go elsewhere to release the remastered catalogue.

"We're losing money every day," said Harrison. "So what do you do? You have to have your own delivery system, or you have to do a good deal with Steve Jobs.
"But he says that a download is worth 99 cents, and we disagree."

It appears as though Dhani Harrison, who has his own band called thenewno2, is having increasing pull in how The Beatles' business is conducted. Just recently he revealed that he convinced the surviving Beatles and Yoko Ono to agree to the upcoming The Beatles: Rock Band project.

"The game blows my mind," said Harrison. "It's infinitely better than Rock Band 2."

January 5, 2009

The Beatles’ Catalog Finally Goes Digital Thanks To Norwegian Podcasts

Rolling Stone magazine online reports that the Beatles' entire catalog will become available via a Norwegian podcast series:

The Beatles will reportedly make a bulk of their musical catalog available as a free, legal download thanks to a series of Norwegian podcasts. In 2001, the Fab Four were the subject of a documentary series entitled “Vår daglige Beatles,” or “Our Daily Beatles,” in which Norwegian journalists told the stories behind every track in the Beatles official catalog in chronological order, with the tracks themselves being played after the story was told. Now, for the first time ever, the series is available as a downloadable podcast, marking the first time the Beatles music in any form has been legally available via download. Despite efforts to finally bring the Beatles to iTunes, Paul McCartney said talks between Apple Corps. and EMI Records have “stalled.”

Read the entire article...

December 2008

On, there's a reprint of a December 26, 2008 New York Times article on what's going on with the remasters, by Allan Kozinn. It discusses what's going on (although no light is shed on the issues between the Beatles and EMI), the Purple Chick series, and the fans. Check it out.... It also references an addition to The Beatles entry on Wikipedia:

All albums by the Beatles (including Past Masters, Volume One and Past Masters, Volume Two) will be released newly remastered sometime in 2009 on CD. The 2009 remasters will replace the infamously poor quality 1987 remasters. Mojo Magazine's Mat Snow was invited to hear 10 remastered tracks from 1968's The White Album and stated that they were "Better even than we'd hoped."

The Audioholics Forum has a good thread discussing the remasters, mentioning MOJO magazine's teaser about "sometime in 2009" and speculating on sound quality etc. Worth checking out.

November 2008

From The Motley Fool Financial Website
Nov 26, 2008

If Apple Corps is Sgt. Pepper, then EMI is the Nowhere Man.

On Monday, rocker Paul McCartney said that negotiations between the Beatles' record company and label EMI, which owns the rights to the group's recordings, have stalled. Each has a say in how and when The Beatles will publish to iTunes.

"The last word I got back was it's stalled at the whole moment, the whole process," McCartney told the Associated Press. "I really hope it will happen, because I think it should."

Us, too, Sir Paul. Apple Corps and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) became embroiled in a trademark dispute in 2006 that lasted about a year. We've been waiting for the White Album on iTunes -- or maybe Help!, a personal favorite of mine -- ever since both sides decided to come together and work it out.

Do EMI and Apple Corps. know what they're missing? Certainly McCartney sees the value in digital sales, as do other labels. Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) recently reported a 28% year-over-year gain in digital sales. Universal Music, the largest label in the biz, said its digital take was up 33% for the first nine months of the year.

Perhaps EMI is the stumbling block. Apple Corps and Viacom's (NYSE: VIA) Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band, last week struck a deal to create a Beatles version of the game, VentureBeat reports.

October 2008

There's quite a bit of noise now about The Beatles remasters, and this website has a good thread on developments. Apparently, The Beatles music will be finding a digital home on MTV Games' Rock Band, according to this news article. "MTV Games, creator of the hit game Rock Band, and Apple Corps, which owns the rights to The Beatles' music catalogue, announced Thursday (Oct 30, 2008) that they plan to create a title that will feature only music from the Fab Four."

June 2007

Beatles fans will probably have to wait until next year before they can buy the Fab Four's tunes from online retailers such as Apple's iTunes store, George Harrison's widow has said.

A recent settlement to a lengthy trademark dispute between Apple and the Beatles' company, Apple Corps, has cleared the way for the band to distribute its catalogue in cyberspace.

But Olivia Harrison told Reuters, 'We just have a few things to work out elsewhere.'

Specifically, all the Beatles CDs have been remastered - good news for fans who have long complained about the poor sound quality - and the organisation wants to get the artwork ready for the physical packages.

Asked if the catalogue would be available online by the end of next year, she said, 'Oh God, yeah. Hope so ... I don't know if it would be the end of this year, but it would be nice. Imminent, let's put it that way.'

Paul McCartney, who has adopted an aggressive digital marketing strategy for the release next week of his solo album, Memory Almost Full, said last month that an online deal for the Beatles catalogue was 'virtually settled' - perhaps over the cheesecake he delivered to Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. But he, too, shied away from saying that anything would happen in the short term.

The Beatles are the highest-profile omission from digital retailers. While the dispute with Apple did not help, the band's organisation has traditionally adopted a conservative approach to new technology, including CDs.

'I think we're a little bit behind,' Harrison said, noting that it was 'ridiculous' that properly remastered CDs of the band's catalogue were not yet available.

'We [the band's members and widows] all agree. It's been done. It's just trying to now get it out there.'

She said that Neil Aspinall, the recently retired [now deceased] businessman who oversaw the group's complex business affairs, had been busy in recent years on the remastering project.

'That's a big job. That means you have to go back through all the archives and find great photographs and really give a nice package to the fans.'

Aspinall retired in April and was replaced by Jeff Jones, an American music industry executive who specialises in deluxe reissues of classic albums. Harrison said Aspinall's departure was voluntary, dispelling fan speculation to the contrary.

But she said Jones would 'pick up the pace' now that the most recent project, a Beatle-inspired Cirque du Soleil stage show in Las Vegas, was underway after years of preparation initiated by her husband before he died in 2001.

Reuters and Simon Aughton[1]

The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1

The Capitol Records LP's issued in 1964 were resurrected with the issue of this boxed set. Remastered from the original Capitol Records master tapes, these records were best known to American audiences before EMI's initial CD issue of the first four Parlophone LP's in 1987, causing their deletion. The initial effort to internationally unify the catalogue caused some state-side confusion, as the song programs and monaural sound deviated from the familiar product.

The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 includes four CD's packaged in mini-album sleeves that mimic their vinyl counterparts. The titles are: Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, and Beatles '65.

Meet The Beatles!, the group's iconic Capitol debut, was initially distinctive in its originality, featuring eleven Beatles compositions out of a program of twelve songs. The Beatles' Second Album relied somewhat more on covers and includes two of their best: John's landmark vocal on Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", and Paul's one-take-to-glory shot of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally". Something New was culled from recording sessions for the Parlophone LP A Hard Day's Night and offers the cleverly constructed "Any Time at All", with its overlapping couplets, and "If I Fell", with one of John and Paul's best two-part harmonies.

The set is rounded out with Beatles '65, perhaps the most notable inclusion for its underscoring of programming and artistic differences between EMI and Capitol. The corresponding Parlophone LP, Beatles For Sale features the most underrated cover photo in the history of rock with the Beatles staring in utter bewilderment. This is clearly intended to be a silent statement by the artists that the mania was taking its toll. Capitol replaced this display of candor for Beatles '65 with a series of group photos that did nothing to alter their "happy moptop" image. The music, on the other hand, deceived no one who really listened: "No Reply", "I'm A Loser", and "Baby's In Black" left no question that the mood had darkened.

Although prepared from master tapes at least one generation removed from the original masters, The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 offers some sonic improvements over the 1987 CD's. Each CD in the set includes both the early four-track stereo and mono mixes of the time for each song. The stereo versions in this set are audibly brighter with greater bass definition and vocal presence as compared to the previously available material, especially true on Something New and Beatles '65, and are recommended at least until the remastered British catalogue becomes available.

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